* “I think that you know what the president said … was appropriate.” While the DOJ scrambles to meet Judge Smith’s memo deadline, Attorney General Eric Holder is busy defending Obama’s con law faux pas. [CNN]
* Six more partners have fled from Dewey & LeBoeuf, bringing the grand total of partner defections to at least 46 since January. Good Lord, somebody needs to get this firm a freakin’ tourniquet. [Wall Street Journal]
* Facebook filed a motion to dismiss Paul Ceglia’s ownership claims, but he isn’t going anywhere soon. Ceglia’s got two months to submit expert reports as to the authenticity of his fake contract. [Associated Press]
* Joe Jamail, “America’s richest practicing lawyer,” donated his $3M law library to TSU’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law. Now students can learn more so they don’t have to sue over being graded on a curve. [Fox]
* McDonald’s doesn’t have to worry about its G-rated Happy Meal toys in California anymore. It’s that XXX-rated lawsuit over a former employee’s “Filet-O-Fish” that the company’s really got to keep an eye on. [Reuters]
'I'm so glad the Justice Department respects judicial review!'
The nation recently received a lesson in constitutional law from President Barack Obama (who famously taught Con Law at the University of Chicago). As we mentioned yesterday, President Obama said on Monday that striking down the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, would constitute an “unprecedented, extraordinary step,” amounting to “judicial activism or a lack of judicial restraint — that an unelected group of people would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law.”
The problem with this lesson: it wasn’t exactly accurate. Those “unelected” federal judges “overturn … duly constituted and passed law[s]” all the time — well, maybe not all the time, but on occasion, when said laws are inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution. It’s neither “unprecedented” nor “extraordinary,” and it doesn’t amount to judicial activism; rather, it’s called judicial review.
One prominent conservative jurist, Judge Jerry E. Smith of the Fifth Circuit, took it upon himself to set the record straight on this matter….
* AG Eric Holder can thank Obama for this homework assignment from Fifth Circuit Judge Jerry Smith, because it seems like our president forgot about Marbury v. Madison. More on this to come later today. [CBS News]
* Dewey need to buy this Biglaw firm a functional calculator? New information shows that the imploding firm was off by roughly $153M when partners reported 2011 earnings to the American Lawyer. [Am Law Daily]
* You know there’s got to be something questionable about a law school when the accreditation machine that is the ABA gives it the side eye. And no, Duncan Law, a judge still won’t force its hand. [National Law Journal]
* Stephen McDaniel pleaded not guilty at his arraignment for the murder of Mercer Law classmate Lauren Giddings, but will he be released on bail before trial? Only if he’s got $2.5M sitting around. [Macon Telegraph]
* More law school lawsuits are coming down the pipeline, but local lawyers in Massachusetts don’t think that they stand a chance. Why? The highly-educated consumer argument strikes again. [Boston Business Journal]
* Thanks to Gloria Allred, transgender beauty queen Jenna Talackova may be able to participate in the Miss Universe pageant if she can meet the legal requirements for being a woman in Canada. [MSNBC]
Last year, the Fifth Circuit upheld the University of Texas’s affirmative action plan in Fisher v. University of Texas. But they did so in a petulant, childish manner, as if somebody was forcing them to eat their vegetables. At the time, I said they were openly begging for a right-wing Supreme Court to review and overturn their ruling.
It looks like the members of the Fifth Circuit are going to get their wish. The Supreme Court granted cert on Fisher, and now we get to have an affirmative action debate right in the middle of an election cycle where a black man is running for reelection.
I’m sure that last part is just coincidence though….
* Jamin Soderstrom, a (rather cute) former S&C associate and current Fifth Circuit clerk, has written a book (affiliate link) analyzing the qualifications of presidential candidates and the relationship between résumés and presidential success. [Tex Parte Blog]
* Professor Glenn Reynolds notes Lindsay Lohan’s swift movement through the jail system. [Instapundit]
* Professor Orin Kerr notes Professor Stephen Higginson’s swift movement onto the Fifth Circuit — in apparent violation of the rule in judicial nominations “that a circuit court nominee with Supreme-Court-level credentials will have a harder time getting confirmed than a nominee without those credentials.” [Volokh Conspiracy]
Our candidates for the coveted Lawyer of the Month title have been a bit tame for the past few months. This time around, we’ve chosen some lawyers and law students who represent our more prurient interests and our unabashed love for scandal.
Chief Judge Edith Jones: Underneath her robe beats a judicial diva's heart.
Can you enforce civility by being… uncivil? That’s the question being raised, over and over again, by federal judges from Texas these days.
Before we get to the latest ridiculousness, let’s review. Back in August, Judge Sam Sparks (W.D. Tex.) benchslapped some rude lawyers with a snarky order inviting them to a “kindergarten party,” where they would learn such lessons as reasonableness and courtesy.
Ironically enough, some found Judge Sparks’s civility-seeking order to be… rude. Chief Judge Edith Jones (5th Cir.) issued an email reprimand to Judge Sparks, condemning his “caustic, demeaning, and gratuitous” order as “cast[ing] disrespect on the judiciary.” Some observers in turn thought it rude of Chief Judge Jones to call out Judge Sparks in writing, so publicly — she cc’d all of the other Western District of Texas judges on her email — when she could have just made a private phone call.
Chief Judge Jones is a highly regarded conservative jurist and a fixture on Supreme Court short lists, but she might not be the best authority on civility and etiquette these days. Check out the latest craziness — an en banc hearing before the Fifth Circuit that generated judicial fireworks, culminating in Judge Jones essentially telling a colleague to STFU or GTFO….
The benchslapper has become the benchslapped. Judge Sam Sparks, of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, just got smacked around by a higher authority: Chief Judge Edith Jones, of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
Last month, Judge Sparks issued a sharply worded order in which he compared the counsel appearing before him to squabbling schoolchildren — and invited them to a “kindergarten party,” where they would learn such lessons as “how to telephone and communicate with a lawyer” and “how to enter into reasonable agreements about deposition dates.” In the end, Judge Sparks ended up canceling the party, after the publicly shamed lawyers worked out their issues — but not before his infamous order received national attention within the legal community.
Many observers were amused by Judge Sparks’s order — which was not the first time His Honor has gotten saucy with lawyers in recent weeks (or in his judicial career, for that matter). But a minority felt that the order was over the top and gratuitously nasty.
Among the unamused: Edith Jones, who oversees the federal courts of Texas in her capacity as Chief Judge of the Fifth Circuit. What did she have to say to Sam Sparks?
Watch to find out what some of our subscribers received in their May box!
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The last time I flapped my wings your way, I tried to make at least enough noise about your mobile phone to make you more than a little bit uncomfortable. I hope I did. If enough of us become anxious enough about the known and unknown unknowns and knowns in our mobile phones, then we can start making wise decisions about how to manage that information and its resultant investigations.
Today, I’d like to put a finer point on the last installment’s topic by asking a question that seemed to catch most attendees off-guard at a conference panel that I moderated last week: is there discoverable personal information in a mobile app? Our panelists’ answer was a uniform “yes” with one stating that, if he had to choose only one type of data that he could discover from a mobile phone, he’d choose app data. Why? Because there’s simply so much of it and because almost all of it is objective – not just user-created like an email – but machine-tracked like GPS, usage duration, log in and log out times, browsed web addresses, browsed actual addresses. Also, most of us seem to have the idea that data doesn’t actually “stick” to our mobile devices the way it “sticks” to our hard drives. Maybe there’s a disconnect based on the fact that our phones are mobile so we assume the data is mobile to?
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